Monday, March 21, 2011

The Texas Rangers Are Better With Michael Young Than Without

The Michael Young drama was something that a lot of fans and media alike were talking about leading up to spring training. The longtime Texas Ranger wanted out and he made his trade demands know both privately and publicly.

But then Young did something a lot of people didn't expect him to do. He shut his mouth, worked out with the team, and didn't say any more about it after it all unfolded in the days leading up to the entire team reporting.

He even held a closed door meeting with his teammates to answer any questions they had about his demands, his feelings, and what concerns they may have had.

Why? Because it's the kind of teammate he's always been. He's the guy who, when Mark Teixeira turned down the Rangers' contract extension for the New York Yankee pinstripes, took the contract extension the Rangers offered him because he wanted to remain with the club.

He's been the consummate teammate and he's been a professional through all the years of being out of the playoff race even before the All-Star break.

Now, general manager Jon Daniels has made decisions which seem to slowly be pushing the face of the franchise out of their future plans. It's something that Young hasn't been happy about.

He moved from second base to shortstop to make way for Ian Kinsler, moved from shortstop to third for young prospect Elvis Andrus, and now has moved from third base to possibly a designated hitter or platoon role to make room for free agent signee Adrian Beltre.

How many more moves do they expect Young to make?

In a way, I don't blame him for being as frustrated as he's been over the last few months. He's done everything the Rangers have asked of him yet it seems they continue to push him out of one position and into another. Now it looks as if they're pushing him out altogether.

Needless to say the relationship between Young and Daniels has soured. That much became clear when both took shots at each other through the media with Young accusing Daniels of being mis-leading and not being completely honest with him through the entire off season.

Since his trade demands, the rumors have been hot and heavy with several teams being interested.

After an injury to second baseman Chase Utley, the Philadelphia Phillies were said to be interested. But that seems to have come to an end after they signed free agent, Luis Castillo, after he was released by the New York Mets.

Another team that has kicked the tires, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, are the Colorado Rockies. Renck sites the Rangers' willingness to assume most of Michael Young's salary in order to make him more attractive to other teams.

The Arizona Diamondbacks also had interest but trade talks never got started.

Every indication from the Rangers is they want to move Michael Young. While it seems, at least as of right now, they do not have an every day spot for him, I will say they need Young more than they realize.

While he was a defensive liability at third base last season, you can't deny he brings something to the table offensively.

Young played 157 games for the Rangers last season, hitting .284 with 21 home runs and 91 runs driven in. It's his third highest single season home run total and fourth highest RBI total in his career as a Texas Ranger.

The infield is more than set with Mitch Moreland at first, Kinsler at second, Andrus at short and Beltre at third. Young could step in and play every position in the infield if called upon especially to give any of these guys a day off.

He's struggled at first base during spring training but it's to be expected especially because it's the one position he's not used to playing. That being said, when the season rolls around, I'm not going to be worried about Young playing anywhere in the infield.

He helps this club when he's on the field. His numbers proved that last season and he was one of the biggest reasons the Rangers ended up in the World Series.

Sure they got tremendous performances from left-hander Cliff Lee, center fielder Josh Hamilton, right-hander C.J. Wilson and a few others, but Young had his own big games during the playoffs.

You might remember a big three-run home run in game two of the American League Divisional Series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

While most might be sold on the fact the Rangers have no other choice than to trade Young to a team who can promise him more playing time than he may get with Texas, I think the two sides need to come to an understanding on their differences.

They need Michael Young to get back to where they were last season. If they are going to be as good as they were in 2010, Young needs to be a part of this team whether it's in the DH role or in a platoon role.

If he's not willing to be that kind of player than it really leaves the team no other choice than to give him the trade he's looking for.

Right now, Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan need to be absolutely sure that they should and can deal Young and still be the kind of team they need to be in order to find the same success they had last season.

Follow Todd Kaufmann @T_Kaufmann or find him on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment